Well, my friends, I have been enjoying the comparison between these two great cameras, and in this article I would like to present my opinions and findings regarding how they directly compare to each other in regards to performance and file output, once and for all (for my purposes, anyway). Here’s my disclaimer… I don’t work for Panasonic. I’ve always researched and purchased my own gear, and do these tests in an attempt to help others like myself see what I wish that I could have seen in cases before buying stuff. Enjoy and I hope this shows you something you’ve not yet seen.
I’ve been looking at the comparison from the angle of one who is curious about replacing my historically favorite micro 4/3 camera in the GX7, with it’s intended upgrade in the GX8. I’ve now had the GX8 for a couple months and have shot a few thousand images with it, so I have been able to get a good feel for how it handles, performs and how the files look when digging into them. With the GX8, Panasonic has given us an increase in size, resolution and features, which have all looked good on paper, and I’m now wanting to really see that come through in practice, which in most cases, it has.
Here is what I’ve seen, and what I’ve found…
Panasonic has done well to progress the hybrid market bringing industry leading video features to remarkably affordable price points over the years. The GH line has always pushed into new territory with budget oriented motion shooters compared to all else available on the market. Along with cutting edge video features, they’ve also done well to provide competent still shooting devices incorporated into these wonderful, little mirrorless cameras. The GF and GX lines have historically incorporated a more still shooter driven skill set in a smaller, rangefinder style body while adding admirable video features as well.
There’s been no hiding my love for the GX7 over the past few years. In my mind, it has been the best balance of quality, size, feature and price yet available in the mirrorless landscape, playing to all of the benefits of a smaller format, mirrorless construction and very high end lens availability through the system partnership with Olympus, and third party collaboration and support from companies like Leica, Sigma, Voigtländer and many others.
With the GX8, Panasonic has brought us a newer, more beefed up version with the m4/3 system’s first 20mp sensor, dual IS feature and various 4K video and still modes in a camera that, while a bit bigger, can still fit into a large pocket with the right lens. A great machine, but is it truly a step forward in all ways? Having been shooting this camera extensively for the last month and a half, I feel comfortable giving my opinions and comparisons between the GX8 and it’s predecessor. C’mon in…
Stabilization. A term that, before a handful of years ago meant “tripod,” or physical bracing technique, has grown to provide various hardware solutions within our camera system of choice. We as consumers have been lucky to have stabilization options within most all digital camera systems, and while image stabilization isn’t going to remedy all problems, it is certainly a nice feature to have.
I’m awaiting a new Panasonic GX8 to arrive within the next couple weeks which will boast a new, dual IS system incorporating both an on sensor IS and lens based IS solution, but before that time, I wanted to really see how the first full frame, 5 axis on sensor/in body image stabilization (IBIS) system from Sony compares to a very good lens based image stabilization (IS) system in the Canon EF lenses, and a better than often credited 2 axis IBIS system from Panasonic’s first foray into on sensor stabilization, in the GX7.
Come on in to see my three different comparisons between these three different offerings, and see if there is a clear winner.
Currently, and while they last, Adorama is selling the GX7 with the 14-42 kit zoom for $547.99 which also includes a $50 Adorama Gift Card. This might be the last cache of new GX7 kits as they make way for a replacement later on this year.
The GX7, while heading toward the sunset, and rumored to be replaced this Fall, is a killer camera. It still has the current Panasonic sensor used in most every Panasonic camera from the last couple years, which is a great sensor, especially for RAW shooters like me. If you’re looking for a good, all around body that incorporates IBIS, an integrated tilting EVF, WiFi, Focus Peaking, 1080p at 60fps, and a slew of other bells and whistles, this is a great deal.
You can find them via Adorama here:
Black GX7 + 14-42 kit with $50 Adorama Gift Card HERE
Silver GX7 + 14-42 kit with $50 Adorama Gift Card HERE
I’ve been a big fan of the GX7, and feel it has been the best overall, micro 4/3 camera yet… for me at least. Great ergonomics, great features, direct external control for everything you need along with an intuitive and logical UI. It has a very good balance of size reduction while being very comfortable in the hand, even with larger optics, and I like mine very, very much.
A great camera for a great price.
If interested in why I’ve grown to praise the GX7 quite as much as I have, you can read my personal reviews and comparisons via these following links:
GX7, an evolution Part 1
GX7, an evolution Part 2
GX7 vs EM5, round 1
GX7 vs EM5, round 2
GX7 vs EM5, round 3
Just a quick comparison pre and post firmware v1.5 update showing the difference that the IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization) makes when using adapted, third party lenses in video mode on the Olympus OM-D E-M5.
The above video was shot using a Canon FD 55mm f/1.2 SSC lens adapted to the OM-D E-M5 with segments using firmware v1.2 to show the lack of IBIS support compared to the same setup after the firmware update to v1.5. I was walking with the camera held out in front of me to further amplify the differences that the IBIS can make for video. I would certainly suggest standing still, IBIS or not when shooting video because nobody wants to watch this type of vomit inducing drivel, with the distinct exception of gear nerds like myself, in small, short doses of course.
To properly engage the IBIS when using adapted lenses for video, you’ll need to manually enter the focal length (just as we have to for still shooting) in the Image Stabilization sub menu.
Along with the added IBIS support in video capture for third party lenses, the update included a muting (or more accurately a disengagement) of the IBIS humming when the camera was inactive prior to entering sleep mode. Unfortunately, we didn’t see some of the other issues we’d raised last week addressed (like focus peaking, high ISO banding, etc) but these are two good changes and hopefully are merely the beginning of the firmware update chain for this camera.
You can find the OMD EM5 at B&H HERE.
Thanks for the read and happy shooting,
The Micro 4/3 system has really grown up in the last year. Sensor tech has taken a substantial step forward and the lens lineup has rounded itself out very nicely. Much has been eluded to regarding the origins of the OM-D E-M5 sensor, is it a reworked Panasonic sensor, a Sony sensor, an inhouse super secret sensor??? Oly came out and admitted that Sony is the manufacturer of the sensor in the OM-D E-M5 quelling the rumor mill, and of course, the G3/GX1 (and quite possibly the soon to be G5) sensor, built by Panasonic, is in fact different. That all said, I really wanted to see how these two sensors compared to one another as I have been very impressed by the G3. C’mon in and we’ll take a closer look at a few files.